If there is one thing that I think is completely under-used in cooking, it’s fresh herbs. Tarragon may be at the top of the under-used fresh herb list.
Tarragon is a savory herb. It smells a little “licoricey”. It’s on the stronger side, like sage or rosemary. A little can go a long way. It is also hardy like rosemary and can tolerate both heat and cold. This is an outdoor herb because it wants to grow big and bushy. Not ideal for the windowsill pot.
Even You Can Grow It
I like tarragon because unlike the more delicate herbs, you can actually have no gardening skills and still grow it. Below is a picture of my tarragon plant which is in its 4th year. We had a super cold winter for south Louisiana and I thought it had died. I cut it down to nothing and in about one month, this is what I have:
Get A Taste For Tarragon
An easy way to ease into using fresh tarragon is in chicken salad. I buy roasted chicken salad from my local store, but sometimes they go a little crazy on the mayo and it needs something to tone that down. Mix 2 tbsp fresh chopped tarragon with a pint of chicken salad – voila! It really freshens things up. Slap that on toasted rye bread with cucumbers and sprouts. Yum!
The French use tarragon a lot more than we do. The first recipe that really turned me on to the fancy flavor of tarragon is one that I have on my Something Borrowed page.
This is a warm grain salad with shrimp, green beans and tarragon. I use farro in place of kamut (I’ve yet to ever see kamut in a store). This recipe perfectly highlights tarragon – the dish would be bland without it. A very elegant dish that pairs perfectly with a rose’ wine.
In general, tarragon works with green vegetables. Use a small amount of finely chopped herb on cooked green beans or peas to make those basic side veggies feel upscale.
Makes The Mushroom
Tarragon also works well with mushrooms. Recently made this Mushroom, Leek and Tarragon Pasta dish by Gordon Ramsay. Super easy, super fast but elegant weeknight meal. I used fresh linguine instead of the pasta sheets he uses in the demo. Sensational with two slices of grilled sourdough and a glass of buttery chardonnay. This dish will also make you fall in love with mushrooms….if you are scared of them, check on my post on how to overcome that: Caramelized Mushroom and Onion Frittata.
My final and favorite recipe is also on my Something Borrowed page. It’s a Grace Parisi recipe from Food and Wine. Similar to Gordon Ramsay’s but uses chicken and some Dijon mustard. It’s absolutely delicious, elegant and date night worthy.
Got a recipe highlighting tarragon that you want to share? Comment below! And if you haven’t subscribed, make sure to do that today so you don’t miss the rest of the Fresh Herbs series.